I don’t know how many times I’ve declared- both on my blog and in conversation- that I am a “creature of habit.” For the most part, this is a pretty accurate description. I find comfort in the smallest rituals, like my morning routine and unofficial family traditions. One of my favorite qualities in a person is reliability. I like set-in-stone plans.
Reading these words, you’d probably assume that I’m pretty change-averse. In some ways, you’d be correct. As I hinted above, it’s best not to change plans with me at the last minute. That is, not unless you’re in the mood to handle a full-on meltdown, tears and foot stomping included. (If you are caught in this unfortunate scenario, take it upon yourself to feed. me. History suggests that this will do the trick.) In reality, however, situations like rescheduled lunch outings or pushed-back due dates are the “little” things. When it comes to the bigger stuff- we’re talking major life adjustments here- change is like my drug. I crave it. I savor it. I run to wherever I catch a whiff of it.
I used to think my desire for change was a side effect of persistent boredom. Like some louche debutante in a Fitzgerald novel, I expected to be entertained by the whims of everyday life. But I recently realized that my need for some sort of shake-up every few months has more to do with my burgeoning desire to grow as a person. It’s not that I dislike who I am at this moment; in fact, it’s quite the opposite: I see enormous potential for myself to be “better, stronger, faster,” if you will. Given my natural inclination towards safe, familiar things, I’ve come to understand that the only way to fulfill this possibility is to seize every opportunity to leap outside my comfort zone.
Like most self-revelations, this one was met with mixed feelings of contentment and anxiety. Content because I am glad to have this knowledge in my back pocket, to help guide me in the future. Anxiety because of what the very word “change” connotes. Changes, be they big or small, always require some getting used to. For someone like me, who cannot relax until every stone has been unturned several times over, this period is long and, well, extremely uncomfortable. Knowing that I will have to expose myself to that level of vulnerability in order to reach my potential is a scary thought. When I look towards my future, I feel like a child who thinks there is a monster under the bed. Half of me is exhilarated by the prospect of radical change, while the other half is clutching a metaphorical blankie, petrified at the thought of remains hidden in the dark.
To wrap up this post on a positive note, I’m going to borrow a few words from my man Robert Frost: In my life, it is clear to me that I will constantly be presented with two paths. Rather than follow my own footsteps, I am going to take the path less traveled by. I am sure it will make all the difference.